September 1, 2021

IP Goes Pop! Ep #5: Trademarks and Catchphrases in Popular Culture – The Trademark ‘Gold Rush’ to Capitalize on Trending Words or Phrases

“Bam!” “Let’s get ready to rumble!” “That’s hot!”

In this episode of IP Goes Pop!, IP attorneys Michael Snyder and Michael Berkowitz explore the increasingly frequent phenomenon where famous personalities blurt out words and phrases that go viral – and the subsequent trademark madness that may follow.

Tune in as the IP in pop culture discussion turns toward examples of celebrities, athletes, politicians, and reality stars capturing the public’s attention with funny/interesting words or phrases. As their catchphrases spread quickly through social media, some going “viral,” there is often a rush to seek intellectual property protection for perceived commercial benefit or value. But can popular phraseology be trademarked? And who owns it?

Join the conversation as the attorneys touch on the benefits of trademark protection as well as other intellectual property protections and enforcement in the context of celebrity catchphrases and pop culture.

In this episode:

  • Famous catchphrases and slogans that became trademarks
  • Preserving rights in interesting and popular trademarks
  • What is “intent to use” in trademark applications?
  • When can a trademark application be filed?
  • Monetizing slogans, words and phrases
  • Consumer confusion and the “likelihood of confusion”


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